Disney to launch free TV channel in Russia
By Gina Keating
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Walt Disney Co and Media-One Holdings Ltd on Tuesday unveiled plans to launch a nationwide, free-to-air television channel in Russia in 2009, populated by Disney Channel and locally produced programing.
Disney will take a 49 percent stake in the joint venture and provide cash and programing as well as expertise in content acquisition and marketing to kids and families.
The company would not comment on the size of its investment in the joint venture, or the length of the deal.
Media-One, the majority stakeholder, brings to the table 30 owned and operated TV stations throughout Russia, as well as knowledge of the Russian market and regulatory environment.
The deal still must receive regulatory approval from Russia, which requires foreign investors to have Russian partners. Russia's regulatory environment for TV is seen as similar to that of western European countries.